On 7th October 2022, Elon Musk concluded his purchase of Twitter and it has been quite a journey since then. A journey Reddit took a liking to.
Let’s take it back: the year is 2012, and behind my parent’s back, I joined Facebook and revelled in this new world, all the while trying to be discreet. This did not last long, but surprisingly, I was not scolded. We had a talk of how I should use it and it was free rein from there.
Cue in a spree of joining every imaginable social media platform. It was love at first sight when I created my first Twitter account in 2013 but my teenage self picked up the bad habit of tweeting every minute from TV shows, and to this day, I still get tagged in those old cringe tweets.
Google+ came onto the scene and I have to admit that was one of the best platforms, alongside Twitter, if not the best.
Blogging became a huge thing and I jumped right in. However, one thing I regret is deleting my old blogs. I understand how cathartic that could have been but I have come to appreciate the importance of maintaining an archive where you can revisit your earlier work and perhaps find joy in observing your progress (or lack thereof) over time.
Facebook faced the Cambridge Analytica scandal and consequently I deleted most of my accounts in 2018/19 but replaced some with a clear focus on privacy.
Circle back to Elon’s takeover of Twitter and alternative platforms like Mastodon rise but this time I’m not hasty in joining them.
Meta capitalised on Twitter’s issues by launching Threads, and technically, every Instagram user already had an account. To me, it felt like it was launched prematurely. It was great but it lacked a lot of features and Meta wasn’t as aggressive as I expected in achieving feature parity with Twitter and building upon that.
In the same week, I got an invite into BlueSky and it was amazing. It was everything I had hoped for albeit the userbase was minuscule. It had the same vibe as Twitter in its early days.
Will the alternatives dethrone Twitter? Unlikely. Twitter is the juggernaut that popularised ‘microblogging’ and it will take a lot to bring it down. Perhaps Elon himself will do that.
So, what does the future hold? I don’t know but juggling between Twitter, its alternatives and other platforms can be tiring. Ideally, platforms would be interoperable.
This will likely be a battle between protocols rather than the apps themselves. For example, Mastodon is built on top of ActivityPub, which enjoys support of multiple companies, while BlueSky utilises the AT Protocol. If one of these protocols (or a new one) gains significant traction then the social networking landscape will change drastically. In theory, we wouldn’t be tied to an organisation or a CEO which is quite exciting. Hopefully in the end we don’t all gravitate back towards a centralised platform.
I, for one, hope personal websites make a comeback. A place to call your home base.